He was was just the amount of New York that anyone needed. It wasn't exactly pretty, so I'll say he was just the amount of Brooklyn that anyone needed. Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire's stock rose quickly when his song and video for “Huzzuh” hit the net. He toured the country with EL-P and Killer Mike. He was signed by Universal Republic, a label that totes Young Money artist Drake and Nikki Minaj. His name was all across the blogosphere.
I’d liken him to a rap Isaac Hayes, but he’s already done that himself. His raps often capture real relationship stories, and the insecurities that occur when you’re hitting your mid-twenties. However, regardless of the hype he had got, I felt that he still wasn't really getting the attention that I thought he deserved. I was curious to know more. I made it a point to interview and build with the Brooklyn based emcee for our first edition of NO PARKING. Neither of us are ones to ever really lie in an interview, or in general, so what resulted was a stimulating and unfiltered conversation.
What do you think is the most important lesson you've learned from your early twenties until now?
I had a very wild life. (laughs)
The biggest lesson I've learned from being 21 to 28 that i've learned is that you cannot hide from yourself. It's always going to come back around to whether or not you're fulfilling your own spiritual desire. You could pretend for a while, but your spirit is going to bubble up and break. That's what happened to me. I had to build myself up after that.
A life lesson is to be you and be unwavering and control your thoughts. Don't give it any thoughts. That's the illest thing i've learned: not to question yourself. And I learned that two months ago (laughs).
I knew this nigga since I was 21 (points to manager, Trax) and he's my best friend. Most people's best friend's they met when they were 9, and 12. This is my best friend. Shit, me being 28 now and me when I was 26, there's a big difference.
What are your fears?
I was never accepted. I'm from the hood, but i'm mad different and I didn't feel accepted. I could've been, but how you feel is the reality. That was always my fear. I felt like if I took a deal, I'd be more accepted and more normal. So, you do things to validate yourself to certain people. I felt like I would be more accepted and more normal. I dropped out in 9th grade and everybody thought I wasn't going to do anything with my life. I worked so hard to be a rapper to prove everyone wrong so when I got the opportunity to sign a record deal, I did it wanting to satisfy everybody else. I did it motivated from my fears and wanting that validation rather it being a good business decision or anything else. I did it from a selfish place.
Are you competitive with friends in the music industry?
I don't have friends that are musicians. Niggas that I don't know. I'll listen to other people's records and I'll respect it and think I can do it better. I'll take that and twist it my way. The aspect of being innovative. That's what it's about for me. Innovative rap.
How do you address projects? Is it a story line?
Yeah, usually. I think my whole career is a story line. It's like what happens next in the movie. That's kind of like how I address it. It's like the third act, so what happens now? I got that from Biggie and his whole Ready To Die album and how after he made Life After Death.
I feel like a lot of New York rappers were anxious back then to tell their respective stories.
I just think the streets are music. I think that's everywhere though, not just New York. I just try to pick beats that sound like what I look at and what I hear and feel. When I'm on the train (*makes train noises*) and I hear that, it's a song.
I saw you say on Twitter that people don't say slang no more. It was either you or Smoke Dza, but you guys were having a conversation?
Yea it was me. Niggas don't be saying no slang. I hate that. I listen to niggas like that. No shots, but if it applies to you then you're offended, whatever. Niggas will say "Trill" but you don't hear a nigga say I got "Zoe'd" - you don't hear any of whatever these little niggas say.
The last time I saw you, you were carrying an old simple phone, and you had sworn off iPhones for a while. How's that going?
I got the iPhone now. I came back to reality. I was probably going through some artistic shit at the time and it was driving me creatively. I was just rolling with it but I had to get back. You can't fight the future. You can't fight now. I was in Guitar Center the other day and I saw some young niggas making beats. They keeping it going. It's still going to go, it's just changed. We couldn't get beat machines. It was impossible to get your own studio in your house. Only thing was some old niggas from the 80's that still had stuff going on. I'm talking like i'm old but this was '03. It's only been ten years, b. We made tapes by recording on one side, and then on the other side. That's how I got my rap voice. I gave this dude my tape. I might've been 14. This dude was like, "oh he can rhyme, but he sound like a bitch." That's why people say they like my rap voice.
So, I've noticed you don't do collabs that much. Are you going to have any collaborations soon?
Nobody wants to do no songs with me. They're afraid I might embarrass them. I got a song with Bishop Nehru and Dza. It's some God level shit. I got some other things, but I don't want to speak on them yet because they haven't been done just yet, but they will. My brother Cokie is on there.
So are you on a label anymore?
Not on a label anymore. Thank God. I'm so happy.
I'm from the hood,
but I'm mad different
and I didn't feel accepted."
What was the feeling of being signed?
To be on, it's a couple of ways to describe that shit. You want the real answer or the short answer?
Its' miserable, waking up feeling stuck. Nobody knew what to do with me. It just wasn't a good decision. I wasn't happy there. And you got to do interviews and people say how you enjoying the label. And I had to lie and shit like, "everything poppin', we wavy. album coming." (laughs). If I was to weigh it on a scale, I'd have to say it was 80% happy feelings and 20% lessons.
So, what's your next project going to be about?
You know when you break up with a girl and you fuck a bitch just to fuck her? That's what this mixtape is about.
Ah, that sounds great.